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Chinese Lantern (Ground Cherry, Groundcherry, Cape Gooseberry, Winter Cherry, Japanese Lantern, Physalis)

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  • Common Name: Chinese Lantern (Ground Cherry, Groundcherry, Cape Gooseberry, Winter Cherry, Japanese Lantern, Physalis)
  • Latin Name: Physalis spp.
  • Family Name: Solanaceae
The orange 'lanterns' of the Physalis are a familiar site in the garden as winter approaches.   All parts of this plant are TOXIC, with the exception of the fully ripe fruit (which, as with all fruit, should not be included in a tortoises diet unless it is a fruit-eating species).  

The Chinese Lantern is in the same family as the Nightshades, and toxicity is caused by Solanine, which can induce stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, fever, hallucination, loss of sensation, paralysis, jaundice, hypothermia, and even death in humans. 

The flowers are usually cream or white, and occasionally yellow.  Do not confuse with the common Gooseberry fruit (Ribes).
Do not confuse with Abutilon, which is also sometimes called Chinese Lantern.


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